The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to the claim that it is trying to undermine the credibility of the Ondo gubernatorial election through the appointment of returning officers.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through the chairman of its campaign council, Governor Seyi Makinde, had alleged that INEC appointed the vice-chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede for the job of collation of results.
However, INEC’s national commissioner and chairman of information and voter education committee, Festus Okoye, on Thursday, October 8, made it e clear that it has the sole responsibility of appointing returning officers for elections in Nigeria.
Okoye noted that PDP and all political parties whose candidates are contesting the election have nothing to fear because “the collation officers must subscribe to the oath of neutrality and must exhibit the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.”
The commission added that the collation of results after the election will be aired live for all Nigerians to see and comment on.
His words: “The commission never has and will never share the responsibility of appointing collation and returning officers with individuals, groups or political parties.
“At the end of the election on Saturday, there’ll be a returning officer for the governorship election. The collation at the state level will be beamed live in the major networks, and the agents of the political parties will be present.”
Earlier, the governor of Ondo, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, had criticised the PDP for raising fears over the alleged appointment of the VC of OAU as the returning officer for the coming election.
Noting that it was a false alarm, Akeredolu said the INEC had never at any time chosen Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede as its chief returning officer.